Posts Tagged ‘Ksenia Afanasyeva’

Should Jordyn Wieber compete at the American Cup?

January 14, 2009

Jordyn Wieber

Jordyn Wieber

News that the 13-year-old Junior U.S. champion will be making her (two years premature) senior debut at the American Cup next month in Chicago is turning some heads on two popular blogs.

2008 Olympian Bridget Sloan has also been confirmed as a competitor. The other two U.S. positions for the women’s competition have yet to be filled, although according to this article from the Los Angeles Times, the other women’s competitors will be Rebecca Downie (Great Britain), Koko Tsurumi (Japan), Ksenia Afanasyeva (Russia) and Jessica Lopez (Venezula and the University of Denver). That leaves two more (ostensibly U.S.) spots to be named.

Back to Wieber. The debate from commenters at Gymnastics Coaching and Triple Full includes these sentiments:

“I think [Wieber’s coach John Geddert’s] nuts… If she’s not going to be a senior for 2 two more years and he’s pushing her into a senior level comp this early? Nuts.”

“From what I have heard, the National Team Staff select the gymnasts to represent USA at certain meets. They can say no, but if they did they would be at the bottom of the list for a long time. That’s said to be why Melaine Sinclair and Kassi Price never made the teams that mattered.”

“I mean come on.. she can’t even compete as a senior! It’s just ridiculous…”

“Jordyn is one of the best in the US right now. Why shouldn’t she get the opportunity to compete. It’s not like the rules for junior meets are any different than senior meets.”

“USAG need a headliner for this meet. Bridget Sloan doesn’t fill the bill imo. They need to break the “next big thing” to get some attention.”

I’m not liking this. Seems to me that juniors should wait to compete at the AmCup until they get til senior status. I’d like to see Sloan, Lorthrop, Shaprio and Larson at the Cup.

Hmmm. If memory serves, the last super-young gymnast to compete at the American Cup was Kristal Uzelac of Parkette’s in 2001 (she would have been 14 at the time). Bianca Flohr of Cincinnati Gymnastics Academy competed in the preliminary round of the 2006 American Cup at 15. Uzelac had certainly proved that she deserved to be there — she was the two-time U.S. junior champion and being talked up as the next big thing.

It wasn’t her greatest competition. Uzelac was good on vault and floor but fell on beam on a Rulfova. Was she pushed into the senior ranks too soon? Maybe. In the long run her career fizzled because of injuries and burnout. Could those have been prevented by not training super difficult things at age 12? Maybe.

Then again, Nadia was at the inaugural American Cup (1976) at 14. And scored a 10 on floor.

Is this a good idea for Wieber? What do you think?

Yelizerova, Klyukina grab last two spots on Russian team

July 26, 2008

Daria Yelizerova and Svetlana Klyukina have secured the final two spots on the Russian team headed for Beijing, International Gymnast Magazine reports.

Ksenia Semyonova Other members of the team are Ksenia Semyonova, Ksenia Afanasyeva, Anna Pavlova and Yekaterina Kramarenko.

The rebounding Lyudmila Yezhova Grebenkova has been named team alternate. Grebenkova, 25, has already vowed to continue training after 2008.

No Olympics for Lozhechko

July 22, 2008

Russian Yulia Lozhechko on her best event.

From International Gymnast Magazine:

While the Russian women’s Olympic team has yet to be officially announced, veteran Yulia Lozhechko won’t be going to Beijing, head coach Andrei Rodionenko said Monday.

Lozhechko, the 2007 European Champion on balance beam, has lost all chances for the 2008 Olympics. Ksenia Afanasyeva, Yekaterina Kramarenko, Anna Pavlova and Ksenia Semyonova already have secured berths, and Svetlana Klyukina, Daria Yelizarova and Lyudmila Yezhova Grebenkova are vying for the remaining two spots, Rodionenko said.

Good grief! OK, so Lozhechko’s been a bit up and down since winning the 2007 Europeans on beam, but when she’s on, she could make event finals on that event easily, perhaps even medal. There must be something seriously wrong for her to be eliminated at this stage.

Then again, Lozhechko has a history of disobedience:

Lozhechko, a World Cup gold medalist and three-time world team member, was given a three-month suspension from the team last fall for defying the coaches at the 2007 Worlds in Stuttgart. In the preliminaries, Lozhechko was instructed to dismount balance beam with a simple double tuck, but attempted a more difficult Arabian double front to increase her chances of getting into the beam final. She fell on the dismount and was an alternate to the final.

Lozhechko was criticized by the coaching staff for “mental problems” following her subpar finish at the Russian Cup. After finishing 12th in qualification, fifth in the final and third on beam, she was nevertheless given the final invitation to the training camp in Leninsk-Kuznetsky. However, her Olympic chances ended there, Rodionenko said.

Yulia Lozhechko, 2007 World Championships All Around, Balance Beam:

She evoked Svetlana Khorkina in bodyline and movement, although apparently Rodionenko is less tolerant of “mental problems” than former Russian coach Leonid Arkayev was (hey, the man put up with The Diva for a decade, although Khorkina seemed to win more than she lost.)

With the more experienced four of the training camp — Pavlova, Kramarenko, Semyonova and Afanasyeva — confirmed, what an interesting choice between Grebenkova, Yelizerova and Klyukina for the final spot.

Harmes to Olympics, van der Leur done

June 24, 2008

Suzanne Harmes

While the U.S. Olympic Trials were happening, across the world the Dutch were quietly determining their own women’s Olympic team at the Dutch Open.

They might have called it the Russian Open instead. Russia sent what may well be its Olympic team — Anna Pavlova, Ksenia Semenova, Ksenia Afanasyeva, Svetlana Kluykina, Yulia Lozhechko and Ekaterina Kramarenko to Amsterdam with the expectation that they would dominate, and they did.

The Netherlands’ one-woman squad will apparently consist of new mom Suzanne Harmes, the only Dutch gymnast to meet the selection committee’s standards, which are still a bit unclear.

(more…)

So few slots, so many questions

March 7, 2008

In theory, by March of an Olympic year, we should be getting a better idea of who’s going to be on the Olympic team in most countries.

China is not most countries.

Here are Deng Linlin and Guo Weiyang, two from the People’s Republic whose success at the just concluded Doha World Cup may contribute to their own Olympic surge. Guo won gold on high bar in Doha. Deng won gold on beam and silver on floor.

She didn’t do too shabbily on vault, either, winning a bronze behind Germany’s Oksana Chusovitina and Russian Anna Pavlova.

Deng Linlin, 2008 Doha World Cup Event Finals, Vault:

Guo Weiyang, 2007 Chinese Nationals Event Finals, High Bar:

Ksenia SemyonovaMatters aren’t much clearer when it comes to the prospective Russian women’s team, either. Ksenia Semyonova is the reigning world champion on the uneven bars, but Lyudmila Yezhova Grebenkova keeps coming up with big results at smaller meets. Ksenia Afanasyeva had a great competition at last week’s Russian Cup.  

Add veteran Pavlova to the mix, as well as the stalwart Yelena Zamolodchikova, Svetlana Klyukina, Yekaterina Kramarenko, Polina Miller, Kristina Pravdina, Anna Grudko, Irina Isayeva, Daria Elizarova and Yulia Lozhechko. There’s no dearth of talent in Russia.

Who goes? Who stays? Who knows?

Good grief.

Lozhechko, Khorokhordin rebound to win Russian Championships

February 29, 2008

Russian Yulia Lozhechko capped off her comeback by winning the Russian Championships.What a comeback for Russian veteran Yulia Lozhechko.

The timeline of Lozhechko’s last six months goes something like this: September: Competes at the World Championships in Stuttgart. Falls on her beam dismount (a Patterson, or an Arabian double front) in team preliminaries, which knocks the 2007 European balance beam champion out of event finals.

October: Is unceremoniously thrown removed from the Russian National team for not obeying her coaches and throwing a safer dismount on said beam routine.

February: Makes stunning comeback to win the all-around at her first competition back on the national team.

Lozhechko literally came from out of nowhere on the second day. She wasn’t even mentioned in International Gymnast Magazine’s rundown of the preliminary competition. Russian veteran Anna Pavlova, apparently on the strength of her new Amanar vault, bounded into the second place spot behind Lozhechko. A duo of Ksenias (Afanasyeva and Semyonova, the latter the defending world bars champion) took bronze.

“I trained this for a long time — in fact I learned it six years ago,” Pavlova said. “Awhile back Yelena Zamolodchikova was doing this vault, when I was just beginning, but for many years nobody was doing it. Certainly, I had some silly mistakes over the course of the competition, but of all the apparatus I am happiest with how I performed on the beam.”

Other than Simona Amanar, who threw the vault in competition once and only once, I believe Zamo was the first woman to do the 2.5-twisting Yurchenko. It was at the 2001 French International, if memory serves.

That competition also featured a fabulous vault by 2000 Olympic bronze medalist Yang Yun of China, who threw one of the more perfect handspring front layouts ever done in international competition. She literally looked like she was flying.

Yang Yun, 2001 French International, Vault:

Russian veteran Sergei Khorokhordin came from behind to steal the Russian Cup title from 2007 European Champion Maxim Devyatovsky, who was also pulled from the Russian team for bad behavior in Stuttgart in September. Deviatovsky’s crime was pulling out of the all-around in a show of poor sportsmanship after he took himself out of contention for the title with a fall on parallel bars.

He also left the arena before the meet was over, which may have gotten the Russian delegation in some hot water with the International Gymnastics Federation (FIG) since it’s against the rules for a non-injured gymnast to do so.

Devyatovsky certainly limped around quite a bit after that rotation, but coaches seemed to think he was faking. Maybe the FIG did too.

Devyatovsky had been in position to make a Lozhechko-like comeback (he was first in the qualifying round) but finished fourth after a fall on high bar. Yuri Ryazanov was second, ahead of Dmitry Gogotov.